Radiculopathy / Sciatica

Radiculopathy also known as Sciatica is a medical condition that causes irritation or compression of one or several nerve roots in the lumbar spine. Because the sciatic nerve traverses the lower back, hips, behind the thigh, below the knee, legs and feet, damages on the lumbar region shows symptoms that emanates in these area. A number of conditions involving the bones and tissues on the lumbar spine may be the cause of sciatica.

Causes

One of the most common source of sciatica is a herniated disk. When the fibrous outer wall of a vertebral disc ruptures, the soft nucleus of the ruptured outer wall swells outward resulting to what we now call a herniated disc. This swelling generates a painful pressure that harmfully presses on a nerve root.

Another recurrent source of nerve root injury is degenerative disc disease. This is brought about when a spinal disc weakens or deteriorates, resulting to the vertebral bones on top and under the disc to move out of its original place. This results to the top and bottom vertebral bones to touch, “pinching” the neighboring nerve roots.

One more familiar cause of nerve root injury is called spinal stenosis.  As the bones and joints of the spinal column degenerates or wears out, bony spurs forms around the degenerated bones and pushes inside the spinal canal and foramen space.  This movement also creates a painful pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.